tv The Last Word MSNBC July 19, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
ticket for the canceled who concert in 1979 and you still have that physical ticket, that will get you into the who's concert in february. you have to spend your 33-year-old historic souvenir, but you get to see the who 33 years after you intended to, which is awesome. but it's not the best new thing in the world today. see, the mayor of providence in 1979 was named buddy siancy. but many things about him that you should know, he at one point was married to a woman named nancy ann. that means that this story gives me the opportunity and a totally reasonable excuse to tell you that at one point the first lady of providence, rhode island, were called buddy and nancy aan ann siancy. best new thing in a world. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night.
. and today, team romney forced ann romney to try to explain why she and her husband are hiding their tax returns. let's just say she didn't exactly put out the fire. >> the negative story on romney and his taxes are not going away. >> team romney continues to shield the governor's tax returns. >> is anything going to put in to rest? >> we're given you all you people need to know. >> all you people need to know? >> we don't owe you any answers. >> it's about romney's personal wealth and the country's lack of wealth. >> it's given all you people need to know. >> whatever you're debating, you're debating wealth. >> backtrack on bain. >> bain? >> bain. >> rush limbaugh now denying his "dark knight rises" conspiracy. >> the villain in the "dark
knight rises" is named bane. >> the conspiracy that bane the villain is out there because of bain capital. >> same name as the most frightening and current batman villain. >> corporations are people, my friend. >> it's a side show. >> oh! my goodness! yes! with exactly 110 days left in mitt romney's campaign to win the presidency while hiding his tax returns, team romney sent first lady hopeful ann romney out to put out the fire without a fire hose. the increasingly incompetent professionals pretending to be in control of the romney campaign actually put the candidate's wife on national television and didn't give her one word to say that made any
sense in response to why she and her husband are still hiding their tax returns. >> why will he not follow the examples of others on both sides of the aisle? >> you know, i think there's reason for all of these things. you know, you should really look at where mitt has led his life and where he's been financially. he's a very generous person. we give 10% of our income to our church every year. do you think that is the kind of person that's tried to hide things or do things? no. he is so good about it. then when he was governor of massachusetts, didn't take a salary in the four years. >> that was the best the campaigners could come up with. not one word she said was actually responsive to the question in any way. and as irrelevant as how much mitt romney gives to the mormon church is, we actually don't know how much he has given to charity without seeing his hidden tax returns.
robin roberts pressed the question again with mrs. romney and left out there by the romney handlers with nothing new to say, things got much worse for mrs. romney. >> because it's a moot point. people can move on. >> because there are so many things that will be open again for more attack. and you just want to give more material for more attack and that's really -- that's just the answer. and we've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life. >> and so that's just the answer. so mitt romney is not releasing his tax returns because it's filled with, in his wife's word, so many things that will be open again for more attack. and that is exactly why modern politics demands the release of the tax returns. the romney campaign is free to try to attack anything they want in the obama and biden tax
returns. that's the game. al gore was fairly criticized for having minuscule charitable contributions in one of his tax returns. that's the way it goes. but very few politicians ever actually get attacked for what's in their tax returns. it's actually very rare because politicians think about that before filing their tax returns, and they think about getting attacked when they make their financial arrangements and investments. that's why very few of them have swiz bank accounts. politico asked the romney campaign if the reason romney refuses to release his tax returns is because during a given year he paid zero in taxes? romney press secretary made the absurd mistake of replying to that question saying not true. that opens the romney campaign
now to be forced to answer questions about all of his tax returns, specific questions. and those questions will continue to come. to you had, npr reports on the connection between mitt romney and a notorious tax shelter user mitt romney served as director of marriott international, the hotel company founded by willard marriott who willard m. romney was actually named after. kleinbard who work odd for the joint committee on taxation said marriott was one of those companies that loved to buy tax shelters. bloomberg reported this year on one marriott tax shelter, the internal revenue service challenged the shelter and marriott lost in court. judges called the shelter fictitious, and a scheme. and the company was forced to pay $29 million.
kleinbard notes that when the shelter was adopted, mitt romney was the chairman of marriott's audit committee. that means mitt romney had oversight over that tax shelter for marriott. and a new twist emerged today in the dispute over when mitt romney left bain capital. today, buzz feeds andrew kaczynski points out that during a primary debate, mitt romney said this -- >> i think people understand that i'm a man of steadiness and consistency. i worked at one company, bain for 25 years. >> unfortunately, the math of that means, 25 years means that mitt romney left bain three years after the campaign is now claiming he left bain. the next tax question that andrea is going to have to answer involves the swiss bank account revealed in the 2010 tax
return that mitt romney has already disclosed. the huffington post ran this headline -- mitt romney taxes for 2010 not fully disclosed. which points out that mitt romney's 2010 tax return which he released in january should have also included this form, the report of foreign bank and financial accounts. form f 9022.1. that form should have been released because it has to be filed with people who have swiss bank accounts like mitt romney. they're required to file this form with the irs and romney did not release this form to the public when he pretended to be releasing his full 2010 tax returns. let's turn this form to page two. it gets really interesting there. the most important item on this document is number 15 on page 2. it's right up here. number 15 on page 2. for some reason we're highlights down here.
but anyway, it's the maximum value of the account during the year reported. item 15. so andrea saul, why didn't he release the full 2010 tax form that would include that document. is there something about that number that embarrasses mitt romney? mitt romney likes to talk about how successful he has been, measuring success exclusively by his accumulation of money. is mitt romney really proud of his success, proud of his money? or is he now somehow ashamed of his money, ashamed of the number in item 15? is he embarrassed by how much money that is? mitt, come on. if you're proud of your money, if it really is your pride and joy, show us a picture of it. show us a picture of your baby, you know, that picture we all
take of our money every year. and send to the irs. joining me now, msnbc's alex wagner and chris hayes. item 15, if i was allowed one question to andrea saul, how much is in that swiss bank account? this thing where she decided to answer one question about the returns -- and by the way, she was answering a question about every one of the returns. because the question was, are there any returns where he pays zero taxes? and the answer to that is no, doesn't that just open this up to, we get to pick what questions we want to ask about which returns? endlessly for the next 110 days. >> that's the thing, lawrence. you get the sense, and we've heard that the center of this whole sort of storm, the eye of it is mitt romney, all decisions come back to him. you know, whether it's the republicans who are breaking ranks and or even the surrogates, mitt is the one
doing a cost benefit analysis about whether or not he should release these taxes. and in the meantime, everyone else is going to have to take the fall for him. getting close to the edge of saying you peasants, stop asking us. >> you people. >> you people. almost these -- >> which people do you think she meant? >> rebel rousing -- >> imagine saying that to robin roberts. >> i think she means the media, the poppers in society who won't let them hold on to their money, which is some sort of unpatriotic act to demand transparency around a presidential campaign's finances. but at the end of the day, all roads lead to mitt. this is financially his decision. >> this is bizarre, strange and alienatin alienating. they pay people a lot of money to game the system. that's explicitly what it is.
if you chose someone with mitt romney's net worth at random and looked at their tax returns, they would look crazy. you wouldn't be able to understand them. they would have all sort of bizarrely constituted corporations incorporated in the cayman islands. what's so remarkable to me about the story is the embarrassment here isn't personal. the embarrassment is about what this says about how the entire system functions. this is how the system functions. we no longer have the ability in this kouj tcountry to really ta people at the top. that's the existential statement about the strength of the american state. can you actually tax the wealthiest people in your society? if you can't, like greece couldn't, we see how that goes. societies that are in decline or low on the development index have a very hard time extracting money, taxing money from the elites in their society. and that is a direction which we are headed and that is what is represented in the mitt romney tax return. >> that's a brilliant
observation about what's going on here and what's at stake. alex, do you think that given the romney campaign's tax policy and republicans' tax policy in general, that what chris just said is actually factoring into the way mitt romney is thinking about this? that really, what you'll see here, even if totally legal, is just so shameful? >> well, keep in mind to chris' point, lindsey graham on the floor of the senate says everybody tries to get out of paying taxes. that's what we do as americans. there's -- the republican party is totally in bed with this notion. there are plenty of wealthy democrats who are i'm sure in bed with it, too. but as chris says, the elites are in in -- this is part of the game, right? this is the narrative of -- it's our economy and your economy. and our tax code and your tax code.
>> there will beer more cooperations in strange places more foreign bank accounts more strange money moving in and out. this is all played on a level that most people don't have access to unless you're part of a specialized vanguard of tax attorneys who do this for a living. >> a conservative blogger said today, he firmly believes that romney is actually going to release the returns. and he's using the old formula, i think, in american campaign hot spots or scandals, whatever you want to call them. there's a demand, a demand, a demand, and you know the candidate has to give into the demand and drags it out. i do not have a strong feeling that mitt romney is going to end this by handing out the number of tax returns his father did. >> i think you're right. i think right now the bet is we're going to let the olympics and the dressage competition sort of be the smokescreen, we're going to come back and get back to the economy. he hasn't laid out any kind of
real economic plan and is running on fixing the kpeconomy. he has not given any clear position on anything. transparency, thy name is not mitt romney. there's no reason he's gong to expect to do anything with his taxes. we are at critical mass here and yet it's ann romney answering the questions. >> the dressage thing is not going to distract me. i actually have a question about dressage. why are you only writing off $77,000 for the dressage? >> he's got it, everyone said it, republicans, democrats, press, blah, blah, blah. and donald rumsfeld said you know what, i'm not resigning and it worked. eventually people got bored and moved on to something else. i think that's the same betemit romney is making. >> i'm betting with he doesn't
turn them over. . coming up, our thelma and louise campaign to go off the cliff. she's in the u.s. congress. and mitt romney says he wants a porn filter put on every computer sold in america. we will show you a focus group of teenage boys who might have a serious problem with that coming up. [ man ] ever year, sophia and i
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>> my father's hands didn't build this company. my hands didn't build this company. my sons hands aren't building this company. it's somebo did somebody else take out a loan on my father's house to buy the equipment. president obama you're killing us out here. through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. why are you demonizing us for it? >> well, you know,the president is not demonizing you. mim romney is lying to you. you did not build the roads, you did not build the water supply, the airports your business uses. you did not build the internet that your business uses. the government did all of those things and more and without them, your business could not exist today. mitt romney knows these things and he knows he's lying about these things as the latest team obama ad tries to show.
>> he said if you've got a business, you didn't build that. somebody else made that happen. >> if you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. there was a great teacher somewhere in your life. >> we value schoolteacher, firefighters, people who build roads. >> somebody invested in roads and bridges. if you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen. >> you couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things. >> the point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative but also because we do things together. >> joining me now, krystal ball and the king of the emmys today. >> that's right.
>> the hbo movie based on your book was nominated for 2,700 emmys today, wasn't it? >> that's only -- no 2,288 too many. >> 12. >> we're happy with 12. all of our actors, directors, everyone got nominated. >> i think you're going to win just about every one of those. >> let's complete the story about the romney ad. jack gilchrist went on tell advice tod -- television today and it turns out, he actual lly agrees with president obama. >> the president's message is you had help along the way, the government was there, there was a support structure there that without which, you wouldn't have done what you did. what do you say? >> well, there's truth to what he said. my 11th grade english teacher
made an impression on me that will last with me for the rest of my life. i can't even tell you what, but she just sticks with me. i think my dad and his parents, the great generations on their backs, we built the interstate highway system and the bridges and what not. but we all pay taxes every time we put gas in our tanks which go to maintaining and keeping up the roads and the brinls. -- bridges. the military maybe? i'm not sure if it's al gore or the military which created the internet. for whatever purpose it was intended. we all get to benefit from it since then. so yeah, there's been some help along the way. >> i did not write that answer for him. i love jack gilchrist. first of all, this is one of the problems when you go out there and you recruit people to be in your ads, you can not control their talking points after their 30 seconds. >> he should be an obama surrogate. that's amazing. but he's missing the point here about the president's secret collectivist agenda that he let
slip in that clip. >> we forgot that. >> in all seriousness, this is what it's about. even before this president was elected, they've been talking about this sort of secret agenda and hinting he's going to take away everybody's guns and redistribute all the wealth. and the other thing that's interesting to me is romney keeps saying that the president can't run on his record. but romney apparently also feels that he can't run on the president's record because they have to pull these sound bites. their first ad was totally -- i mean, not even taken out of conteco conte context. it was the president quoting john mccain they used in their first ad. they feel they have to go to this. if they actually talk about the president's very centrist poll says, including many tax cuts, a third of the stimulus was tax cuts, that's not going 20 sell to their base and people they're trying to get riled up. >> how worried are they about this tax issue? and do they believe they actually can change the subject with ads like this? >> well, i know on your previous
segment, alex and chris were on here talking about this. they are, you know, concerned. and i don't think it takes a genius to understand that. the people around him are not dumb. >> how dumb do you have to be to send mrs. romney on a morning talk show to defend the hiding of the tax returns who it a single new concept or word or sentence to say and the poor woman is left out there. she ends up saying this stuff that's interpreted as being very condescending. >> yes. well, i don't blame her. i blame campaign dumbness. >> they believe mrs. romney is a more compelling and sympathetic figure than mitt romney is. >> she is, but she's not a magician. >> i understand that. but you have a go-to surrogate. ann can fix it. it's clear that part of what the obama campaign is doing, they
saw the way mitt romney got rattled when he was challenged on things as senior white house ishl ifs said to me, that's one thing he learned. there's a cyops element to this. mrs. romney looked rattled. they are not dumb. they recognize it's a huge problem, but the thing is, this does come back to mitt romney. he does not want to release these returns. and i think the one thing that his political advisers know, we don't know what's in those returns, but we do know one thing, cayman islands, swiss bank accounts, those are toxic with independent swing voters. if there's more than that, that's a good reason not to want to release them. >> or an even lower tax rate. that's also a good reason. >> we have to blame it there. i just love jack gilchrist remembering his 11th grade english teacher. jack gilchrist, great guy. thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, our thelma and louis.
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>> in the spotlight tonight, thelma and louise. your response last night to the "last word's" off the cliff campaign, telling your members of congress you're willing to go off the cliff has mitch mcconnell running scared today. on the senate floor today, mitch mcconnell played the harvey keitel role, desperately trying to stop them from going off the cliff. >> democrats say they think it's a good idea to drive the country off of what economists are calling america's fiscal cliff this coming january. you might call this thelma and louise economics. right off the cliff. and starring for the democrats in the role of thelma is senator patty murray. >> if we can't get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair
share, then i will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle class families under the bus. even i think my party and the american people will support that. >> senator thelma understands that this is the only way to get around the grover norquist anti-tax pledge that almost every republican in congress has signed. >> every proposal will be a tax cut proposal. and the pledge will no longer keep republicans boxed in and unable to compromise. if middle class families start seeing some money coming out of their paychecks next year, are republicans really going to stand up and fight for new tax cuts for the rich. she knows there are a lot of secret louises in the back rooms
of the capital in both parties. >> republicans are far more willing to discuss the need for revenue. and there are some republicans passionate about national defense and willing to make some tough choices on revenue to protect the pentagon. in fact, some of the productive conversations that my republican colleagues have been having have led grover norquist to decry their impure thoughts when it comes to taxes. well, i hope these impure thoughts continue. if norquist is mad, and i mean that in the angry sense of the word, then we must be on the right track. i also think many republicans are starting to realize something very important. on january 1, if we have not gotten a deal, grover norquist and his pledge are no longer relevant to this conversation. >> that is so thelma. i hope those impure thoughts
continue. grover norquist has done a lot of unwise things in his life as a lobbyist, most recently calling a republican senator a liar, but grover has done nothing more unwise, nothing more unsafe than crossing senator thelma. >> grover norquist, by the way, was kind enough to wish my luck on the super committee by telling reporters that the lady from washington doesn't do budgets. >> oh, grover. you should have known that bad things happen to guys who cross thelma and louise. joining me now are two guys who would never cross thelma and louise. the former chief economist to vice president biden. jerod, i have been hering for some months now, very quiet whispers from other democratic
senators about going off the cliff and their determination to do it. and recently, i have been picking up, as patty murray has said that there are republicans who want to do it, too, because it's the only way they will ever be able to cast a responsible vote or anything approaching responsible vote on taxes once they're free of grover norquist pledge. >> i know that's true. and by the way, i'm sitting here, just thinking, if somebody had come up to me 20-plus years ago when i was walking out of thelma and louise saying you're going to be using this analogy to talk about fiscal policy in a couple of decades, it would have blown my mind. >> and, it will be the responsible thing to do. >> right, exactly. i wouldn't have known what that person was talking about. but now i get it. you know, you're starting to pick up some kind of healthy vibrations that there might be enough grown-ups to actually make this happen. the fact is that nobody, patty murray, included,n't whats to go over this cliff as the first best option.
but she recognizes, as i mentioned, others are beginning to do that we can't achieve a sustainable budget path without new revenues. and grover norquist has very successfully blocked that blatant reality for a very long time. if he can be broken on this and it takes going over the cliff or starting down a slope that we can reverse and come back up quickly, that would be a quite positive thing for the economy and for fiscal policy. >> the truth of january 1 in the first weeks and first month even is that it's not exactly a cliff. it's more of a gentle kind of driveway slope down from the curb because it's impossible to do these gigantic cuts all at once in one month. >> i'm not going to say gentle. i think it might be a rocky slope down the hill, but it is a slope. they've done really great work
here. and the kinds of economic effects you would see will be staged. they will come in pieces. and for the beginning of it, people aren't going to believe that this is really happening. they're going to not change their behavior because they assume every other time congress is bickering with each other, they're eventually going to get their act together. if i make one more point on this, one thing democrats are thinking about here isn't just this fiscal cliff and this tax deal. it's that they need to break republicans of brinksmanship altogether. we've had near shutdowns a nooer breach debt ceiling. they want to go after the debt ceiling again. and democrats believe at this point, they need to show republicans that they can't keep threatening to drive the country off of these various kinds of cliffs that eventually they need to show republicans that as the economy strengthens, they're no longer quite as up against a wall. and as such, they won't be such pushovers at the negotiating table anymore. . >> and if we do go off the cliff
on new year's eve, that means in the first week of january, for the first time ever under this tea party republican politics, there would be a chance to put together a complete deal that addressed everything that happened in going off the cliff, including the substantial defense cuts, the other spending cuts included in going off the cliff and the tax rate increases. as well as the debt ceiling increase, all of that could be very quickly wrapped into a bill that fixes things in such a way that the stuff that everyone really fears about the cliff would immediately be solved. >> i think it's imperative it plays out that way. and by the way, the grown-ups we were talking about earlier, of which patty murray is a prime example right now need to be talking about and framing that deal starting now. you're absolutely right. i mean, these increases kick in whether it's the increases in the tax code, the expiration of the payroll tax cut. the automatic cuts. many of those pieces need to be
reset right away. the biggest of which is avenue middle class tax cut. that's the part that patty murray was talking about. that becomes a tax cut after january 1. that's going to be a big part of this deal. and believe me, they all want to make that happen quickly. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> my pleasure. >> send us your designs for the last word's off the cliff campaign button. you can also post it on our facebook page or e-mail us. i'm going to show you my button right now. i had it on last night. even today, we worked on a little redesign. got a better exclamation point today. kind of more modern font. a little tilt and emergency to it. -- and energy to it. we're not satisfied. you can get a little screen grab of that at home and work on it, make it better.
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american economy is driven by free people pursuing their dreams. and so we've seen during this presidency one step after another that's made it harder for people to see freedom in enterprise here. . >> in tonight's "rewrite" the economic freedom romney wants to take away. romney talks about freedom a lot these days but he hasn't always been such a big fan of freedom. that's right. mitt romney has flip flopped on everything, including freedom. here he is in his last presidential campaign talking about a freedom he doesn't want you to have. >> i want to make sure we all understand we've got to clean up the water our kids are swimming in. >> no, he didn't want to take away your kids' freedom to swim in polluted waters. in fact, he didn't want to clean up any waters at all. he's no environmentalist. he wasn't even talking about water.
>> i want to make sure that we all understand we've got to clean up the water that our kids are swimming in. and by that i mean the pornography. >> even though mitt romney has profited from pornography through his investments, including through his hotel investments where pay-per-view porn is a big profit center, mitt says he wants to limit your freedom. he wants to limit some americans' freedom to search for porn. here he is in 2007 when he was apparently teaching rick santorum how to run for president four years later. >> i want to make sure we enforce our obscenity laws, and i want to make sure that retailers don't sell adult video games to kids. and i want to make sure that every new computer sold in this country after i'm president has installed on it a filter to block all pornography and that parents can click that filter and make sure their kids don't see that kind of stuff come into their computer. >> the one business that mitt
romney claims the most pride in is staples. now, i don't have in front of me exactly how many computers staples has sold, but it's like millions. and romney was in a position to put a porn filter button on every computer that staples sold. every single one. and he didn't do it. he didn't require one porn filter button on one computer that he sold at staples. maybe this is just another empty romney promise, porn filters on every computener america. still, that kind of talk is pretty scary to the people most affected by it. and "the daily show" recently l impanelled a gruel of those people and the kind of stuff romney was talking about sounded to them like a very serious restriction on their freedom.
>> you guys are familiar with the birds and the bees. right? let's take the birds out of the equation and just talk about what happens when the bees are by themselves and they have a solid internet connection. huh? >> are you talking about [ bleep ]? >> no, i'm not talking about [ bleep ]. i'm talking about freedom. >> how are they going to know, like, when we're -- >> doing what he said? >> doing what he said, yeah. >> they know. trust me. >> luckily for mitt romney, those guys are not old enough to vote. yet. according to ford, the works fuel saver package could literally pay for itself. jim twitchel is this true? yes it's true. how is this possible? proper tire inflation, by using proper grades of oil, your car runs more efficiently, saves gas.
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>> it's been a great week for batman in politics. >> bain. not since ayds diet candy -- [ laughing ] suffered through their somewhat ill timed 1980s, lose weight with ayds sales campaign maz a bra -- has a brand faced this kind of challenge. >> corporations are people, my friend. >> the next day, the paranoid self-loathing drug addict in charge of romney campaign strategy had this to say about "batman." >> the have it lain in the "dark
knight rideses" is named bane, b-a-n-e. do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire breathing four-eyed, whatever it is, villain in this movie is named bane. >> rachel spent some delightful time on her program humiliating rush limbaugh for that and the late night comedians took notice, too. >> we combined footage from the batman series. >> do you think it's accidental that the name of the really vicious fire breathing four-eyed, whatever it is villain in this movie is named bane? >> i think rush may have a point. >> i'm going to torture you like a dog tied to the top of my car. the streets will run red with blood before i release my tax returns.
>> the next day after drowning in humiliation, rush saw the error of his ways and did what rush always does when he's publicly proven wrong in a way he has to acknowledge, he lied and pretended he never said what he said. >> yesterday on this program i uttered some words about the new batman movie and the evil villain named bane. i made some comments about it. it doesn't matter what. everybody is out there running around thinking i have this giant conspiracy theory. i never said that. i didn't say there was a conspiracy theory. i didn't say that. i said the democrats are going to use it. >> and on day four, rush said this whole thing is the democrats' fault. >> the democrats clearly are going to try to link this villain to mitt romney. and i outed them. they're acting like i'm some sort of conspiracy creep, but i outed them.
i have shined the light of truth, as it were. >> richard wolff, what is rush going to take now that morgan freeman has just given $1 million to the obama campaign. >> he could point out the lead actor is called christian, which is a preference to mormonism. and ann hathaway, is reference to ann romney. morgan freeman played the role of god and the president and nelson mandela, too. there's only one bat theme going on and it's right there in front of the microphone. >> you've got to wonder, does rush own time warner stock in you know, the warner brothers made the movie. but it's so great watching him get caught, you know, and then the move is always the same. he lies and says i didn't say what you just saw me say on tape. >> right. he also suffers from the delusion of all conspiracy theorists, he's aay